How to Send Packages to Brazil Tax Free

So you’ve been in Brazil for a while and have been hit by the 60% tax on everything that comes into the country?

Today I am going to show exactly what little simple loophole you can use to get around that, so you can send or receive packages to Brazil tax-free!

But before I continue, I would like to tell you a little story….

A while back, a good friend of mine had been living as a volunteer in Brazil for many years.  He was dependent on donations and support in order to carry on doing what he did and things were usually pretty tight month after month.

An acquaintance of his saw his struggles, good heart and service, and wanted to help out!  He and his wife back in the USA put together a box full of amazing things.

I remember that it had clothes, special American treats he couldn’t get in Brazil and one little thing that set off the customs alarm – a little tablet device!

This couple back in the USA sent this package out of the goodness of their hearts and really meant well – they wanted it to be a surprise.  A surprise is what they wanted and a surprise is what he got!

The package arrived in Brazil at the post office, my friend then got a letter in the mail with a shocking message “your package from Tom Johnson has arrived, in order to pick it up, you will need to pay a customs fee of $R276.00”

$R276!!!!! (That’s about $140 USD)

The value of the contents on the American market was probably around $125…so, he forked over the $R276 to the post office from his already struggling account, and got his package…

This is something that you will want to avoid like the plague!  Sometimes the customs agent values and taxes it based on what the price list on the internet says or sometimes he just makes a value up if he can’t find a price.

How does Brazil’s Import Taxes function?

Brazil would rather produce their own nationalized products rather than import other countries’ products.

So whenever anything non-exempt of tax is imported into the country, you are subject to pay the following taxes (note: the below links are in Portuguese, you can use translate.google.com to aid you):

So basically a bunch of different “fees” and taxes that will make you pay over 60% of the original “declared” value unless…

You utilize a loophole so that you can avoid all of these taxes:  Any item declared under $50 and marked as “gift” is tax free.  This is also true for books and CDs of any value.

Here is how you do it in 3 simple steps:

1. Filling the Package up

Here is the first and most important thing you need to know when sending a package: don’t lie! (not that you would of course)

The customs agents will scan or open the package if it looks suspicious – so be as transparent as possible.

Here are a few good things to fill a package with that slip through:

  • Spices, dressings etc
  • Packaged food items
  • Vitamins
  • Hair products, perfume, lotions etc
  • Clothing
  • Other “non-technology” items

This basically means that you can send items that you may normally use “day to day” without much worry.

I once received a huge moving box full of these types of things, I mean FULL to the brim, without getting charged any tax.

Things that the customs people generally keep an eye on are:

  • Technology of any sort
  • Watches
  • Sunglasses
  • Other potentially resalable items

In other words, make sure if you send the above, that it costs less than 50 bucks – it’s even better if you have some type of price tag still on the item.

The size of the box doesn’t matter, just the value of its contents.

When you are packing the contents and writing the address on the package, here are a couple of tips based on experience:

  1. Pack the items in a plastic waterproof bag inside the box.
  2. Cover the “To” and “From” addresses in clear packing tape.

The reason I say the above, is due to the fact that I once had a package arrive, which had been either completely submerged in water or soaked in the rain, the only legible thing left on the package was the “To” address!

2. Declaring and Sending the Package

When you go to the post office to declare the package, make sure that you declare AND insure it for under $50 – if you insure it for more, a red flag will be raised and you could risk the receiver paying tax.

When asked to declare the items in the box and quantities etc, be observant of the following:

  • Don’t declare item for item, make a summary of the items and write the value.
  • Make sure that the total is under $50 dollars, but don’t write $49.99 – that just looks suspicious.
  • Insure the package if you are worried about it not arriving.
  • Don’t ever send anything irreplaceable via the post office, only use a courier service for this type of thing!
  • The sending option you choose doesn’t really matter as it can take some time to get through customs.

Once the package has been sent, expect up to 3-4 weeks for it to arrive.  My experience is that it can take anywhere from 7-8 days (if it doesn’t get stuck in customs) to 4 weeks (if it get’s stuck).  Obviously you want to plan on the worst case scenario and hope for the best.

3. Receiving the Package

If the package is small enough and it doesn’t get stuck in customs, it is usually delivered directly to the receivers door.

If it is a larger package or one you need to pay import tax on, then you have to bring a little slip they will mail to you, to the post office.

If you get charged import tax, then take the little slip with you to the post office and wait to be attended to.  After you are attended to, give them the slip and payment amount written on it.  You can usually pay with either cash or Credit Card.

Here is a video I made on how to find a “Correios” post office:


(Click to watch Finding a Correios Brazilian Post Office on YouTube)

Final words

This is a shorter but more practical post today – but very important in my eyes.

Anyone who is planning on staying in Brazil for a long amount of time or knows someone who is, can make use of this information.

Please make sure and like and share this post if it was helpful!

What is your experience with sending or receiving packages to Brazil – anything you could share?

Valeu – all the best!

Kevin

 

  • moni

    Hello,

    Wanted to know whether kitchen appliances would be an issue — b/c I surely don’t wish to pay anything to pick up a box when there…
    Items, I’m thinking about are: toaster oven, possible small microwave and some Cuisinart stuff like, blenders…etc…
    Also, sticking in there some small rolling tables and lamps…

    Thoughts??

    note: I’m planning to leave to Rio by next year around this time.

    Thank you for your help!!!

    • http://www.liveinbrazil.org Kevin

      Hey Moni,

      The first thing to consider is the voltage of the appliances you are wanting to take, are they 220v or 110v (or both)? In Rio it is 110v.

      The second is the type of visa you are coming on, is it a permanent residence visa or are you a returning Brazilian? If that is the case, then you can as much as you like tax free in a container.

      If you are coming on a different type of visa, then you could risk being taxed. I would recommend paying for extra luggage and bringing them with you on the airplane.

      But in a nutshell, bringing appliances with you is very much worth it – the quality of appliances in Brazil is generally poor and extremely expensive. So bring whatever you can and only buy what you have to after arriving.

      • djfourmoney

        Hey Kevin, I was considering the Pan American Hwy trip as a way to get to Brazil but also bring stuff with me. Is that a problem? The car wouldn’t be large as fuel is expensive but I have a idea how to get around that.

        Just an idea running through my head.

        • http://www.liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

          Hey, that would be an epic trip!

          I’m not sure how they’d take it coming over the boarded but due to the fact that you are a tourist, I doubt it would be an issue.

          Unless of course you had things that were “suspicious”, i.e. boxes of similar new items etc.

  • Ash

    We sent a package to Brazil this month (Sep 2012). The recipient in Maringa was just charged R $670 for a 14 pound box of used clothes sent from LA via USPS. It took 12 days to get there. Obviously we are going to let them keep it. There were no technology items. Our packaging was not much different than what is proposed in this passage. However, with Brazil customs on strike, the agents are being pains in the %^#%$#

  • http://www.liveinbrazil.org Kevin

    That is a bummer Ash!

    Definitely want to avoid any service that is related to a strike in Brazil….

    But what a small world, Maringá was the first city I lived in – we may have some common connections ;)

    Better luck next time (maybe try sending two smaller packages and with a hand written itemized receipt inside?)

  • Carrie Grice

    I want to send my boyfriend my used laptop will he be charged a tax on it if it is a used gift?

    • http://www.liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      Unfortunately yes. This is due to the fact that it is worth more then 50 usd.

      Your best option is to have someone bring it to him on a flight, ask around to see who’s flying that direction.

  • Andrew Stewart Woodburn

    I am sending my girlfriend a couple little things in a package, a shirt, chocolate, etc. but the one thing of value is a bracelet… My question is, what would happen if I didn’t state the value? Or include a reciept? Would it be better that way? It costs 380 but I don’t think they would come up with that price. If the tax is 60% plus more for sending with a courier (which I will do because I don’t trust sending to post office) then I’m going to end up paying almost 400$ in taxes??? And if that does happen.. how do I pay it so she doesn’t get asked to pay that!? If anyone has any suggestions or can help me out, I would be so appreciative. Thanks in advance.

    • http://www.liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      My main concern would be that if it is noticeable and not declared, there is the issue of theft.

      The tax would be paid upon receipt of the bracelet to my knowledge, unless the courier allows for it to be taken care of before hand?

      I’m not sure how to advice you because it’s risky unless you declare it.

      IF it was me, I would find someone going to Brazil to take it with them and deliver it there.

      • Andrew Stewart Woodburn

        Ok, but I’m not saying I won’t declare it.. I mean what if I don’t state the value or I state it as much less? And I don’t know anyone flying there sadly so that’s out of the question. Thanks for your help though :)

  • Maria Roberto De Assis

    hi kevin i just wanted to know ive sent a couple of things to brazil about 2 weeks ago it got there but i have to pay $170.00 to get it out if i leave it and dont pay will they send it back i have insurance on it thank you

    • http://www.liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      Hey Maria, In theory “yes” in practice “maybe”…

      I would ask the specific postal company you had it sent through about what you should do in that situation because maybe they need to contact the Brazilian post office.

  • Kris

    Hi Kevin,

    My question is, if I am sending something to Brazil and the items are under $50USD, the person receiving the package does not have to pay for tax?

    • http://www.liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      Hey Kris, this is correct and you have to designate it as “gift”, though it’s always up to the customs officer’s discretion ;)

      • Kris

        Thanks so much Kevin!

  • Kris

    Hi Kevin!

    Quick question, I am thinking about sending my friend a calculator from US to Brazil. The price of the product should be about 20-25, what are the chances that my friend will get taxed for this package. Also, I will be labeling this package as gift. And if you think she will get taxed, what method do you suggest I take to send her this item?

    Thanks!

    • http://www.liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      It’s hard to say, but if it’s realistically that price then you should be ok!

      They usually use websites like yahoo shopping to double check prices.

      • Kris

        Got it! thanks for the help!

    • http://www.liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      The method doesn’t usually matter as they all go through the same customs.

  • Jason Kindle

    totally unhelpful!

    • http://www.liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      Ok Jason, you can have a full refund for this post! ;)

      • Jason Kindle

        Awesome, $100/hour divided by 10 minutes of reading your dribble and replying to it.

  • Nelson

    Thanks for the great info everyone! So, is the consensus that we should use usps international priority or fedex/ups? Based on comments, seems that risk of taxation is same, but risk of loss may be greater with usps…thoughts?

    • http://www.liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      You hit the nail on the head! Risk of loss lower with Fedex UPS as they go through their own people whereas USPS hands it off to SEDEX. Taxation is the same no matter what.

  • Izamara

    I have a question. If I sent to Brazil a cell phone declaring the price for under $50 and as gift. What are the chances of being caught through customs? Why?

    • http://www.liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      The chances are very high! Simply because everyone tries to cheat and they watch for this kind of thing.

  • lee

    I’ve sent loads of packages to brazil and in some cases have been absolutely hammered, the most frustrating is when a gift has been sent and the price has been less than the $50 (or in in my case pounds equivalent). But when it’s been picked up by customs the haven’t used the price that was used even when proof (receipt) has been enclosed. They’ve applied what the items sells for in brazil then applied the tax, got so sick of this I tell people not to do it anymore.

  • Gustavo Kern

    I have one doubt..if something that you are sending from U.S. to Brazil get stuck and is needed an import tax, where does the object get stuck? At a post office at the city of the receiver or somewhere at where the goods enter Brazil?(SP capital, RJ capital or even fortaleza, IDK). THanks! :D

    • http://www.liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      Yep, post office.

  • silas adjei

    Kelvin i really need this answer from you and the question is i work in Brasil and i send money to my father tru the western Union here eg i send 1000 reals and my father received only 700 ghana cedis. but look on the world market the reals and the ghana cedis is equal so why they charge so much when sending money. this government is very bad? Please i want to know if you know how i can send money free to my country or method tru the internet by using my credit card or my debit card to send money without any charge or a little charge because kelvin is very seriouse and much hetic man please help me. that is the biggest problem we the extrangeros (*foreingners)are having man

  • silas adjei

    Kelvin i really need this answer from you and the question is i work in Brasil and i send money to my father tru the western Union here eg i send 1000 reals and my father received only 700 ghana cedis. but look on the world market the reals and the ghana cedis is equal so why they charge so much when sending money. this government is very bad? Please i want to know if you know how i can send money free to my country or method tru the internet by using my credit card or my debit card to send money without any charge or a little charge because kelvin is very seriouse and much hetic man please help me. that is the biggest problem we the extrangeros (*foreingners)are having man

    Kelvin are you still in Brasil i work at Brasilia international airport now can we chat on other side. cos my wife is almost 3 weaks in delivery i can wait to see my peermanent permit please i need some quide lines i want to know if you are in brasil

    • http://www.liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      Hey Silas, answered you on another thread.

  • Kenyanna Dyer

    Is it possible for me to buy a playstation 4 for a friend in Brazil and send it to them as a gift? Sending it through UPS or FEDEX and not usps. The item would be a gift as well, as I am not getting any money from them for it.

    • http://www.liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      Don’t do it, you’re asking for trouble! They will tax the living bajeebers out of it!

      • Kenyanna Dyer

        eppp okay… here is another idea….

        Let me give you a theoretical situation. Totally theoretical! ^^b

        Four months after the release of the PS4 I purchase a broken PS4 from eBay for 25 bucks. I send that broken PS4 with the eBay receipt of 25 bucks to Brazil through FED EX. Would that be okay of will it not be okay?

        (coughs, coughs)

        TOTALLY THEORETICAL SITUATION THOUGH! Yup!

        -Thank you for your reply ^^b

        • http://www.liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

          They’re used to these theoretical situations and will care less about the ebay receipt ;) They’ll look it up on a shopping site and charge tax based on that price.

          • Kenyanna Dyer

            Dangit! WELP I tried Kevin. I tried. hahahaha… not that I was going to do that of course seeing as that was a theoretical situation…..

            Nope. Not me. Never.

            =p

  • Kenyanna Dyer

    Hey Kevin I have another question regarding to my last…

    What if I’m just honest and send the package (brand new PS4) with the receipt of how much it cost (399 plus tax) to Brazil? They can only charge taxes up to 60% of the price of the package right? I think that would be around 249.00 in taxes. So my friend would have to pay the tax and then would receive the package, correct?

    Thanks again!

    • http://iclube.net IClube Fortaleza Shop

      You will be charged the tax on the transport as well and they have the right to look up the price of a PS4 and decide to tax you a higher amount. Putting a formal receipt or invoice helps a lot. PS4 are standard good so you might be charged the standard taxes. 399 plus taxes however is a right price so expect to be charged 60%. Tip: Put on the invoice a 40% discount on the real price and state that transport costs are free. You might get lucky!

  • Dan F Hensley

    We sent some boxes as we were planning a move here. They never got through customs and were sent be after 6 months at our expense.

  • Math

    I’ve an eletronic stuff to send to brazil and the price in US is 140 usd. If I put the real valour, my friend would pay 60% plus ? So, my friend would pay something near 84 bucks?

  • Damon

    So really good teas from China, probably well over $50 worth (hey I’m a tea connoisseur and really enjoy my high quality teas over coffee), will probably make it though without any issues?

  • Frank Ykeda

    Kevin, I’m an amateur baseball coach. As anyone could gess, Brazil does not have any baseball sporting goods to sell for a reasonable price and expected quality. In order to continue playing ball we just thought about buying used good materials from e-bay auctions. How about that? What are the odds of being heavily charged for 30 used balls, for example?

  • Lynn

    Oi Kevin
    Great post. And very convenient since i will be moving permanently to SP in a couple of months and of course i have over 300 kg of stuff to ship including my baby’s apparels. I got informed at the council in my country about the suitable procedures to avoid any tax fees and they said i should translate and register a proof of residence which can explain to customs that i have never been or lived in Brazil for the past 10 years, and this will do the work.
    Please and BIG PLEASE, can u tell me if this helps.
    P.S. Stuff include clothes/shoes, food, and baby gear and baby shower shampoos, baby’s food prep appliances. Our laptops and ipad/iphones will be with us on plane
    Thank u
    Lynn

    • Isaiah

      I know this message is late but there is a law in place for people migrating to Brazil for the first time. You will not be charged a tax and you can bring all of your belongings. I have no idea of the process or what the limitations are but this is what I’ve read so far while researching. I was considering moving there this last year. I thought it would be a good way to launch a business if you had enough capital, of course depending on the limitations of their so called “first time free”. Brazil is one of the most taxed nations in the world.

  • T Smith

    My husband is working in Rio for 6 weeks and I sent him some clothes and trailmix and protein bars via Global Priority Mail Express to his hotel. The tracking through USPS site says custom clearance for the past 8 days. How do I get in touch with Customs?